I have been thinking about sustainable fashion and what it means to me. It was a couple of years ago when I first saw “The True Cost” on Netflix. It was a documentary film that focuses on fast fashion – from how it is produced and its environmental, social, and psychological impact.
Before then, I had little idea that the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world. Extensive environmental damage is taking place in countries where garments are produced: the soil is poisoned with pesticides used to grow genetically modified cotton crops and the water system polluted with toxic dyes containing lead, arsenic, and mercury. Every year, over 100 billion items of clothing are produced globally and 3 out of 5 items end up in landfills. Our planet is suffocating and our health and wellbeing are being threatened.
The documentary also highlights how the garment industry perpetuates the oppression of workers in third world countries where much of these items are produced. The working conditions are poor and at times downright dangerous, the wages low, with very little rights – if at all – granted its workers.
It was a film that moved me to think that we, the consumers, must choose to sustain the well-being of our environment and of humanity in general. In small but potentially impactful ways, we can make a difference.
One path that I have chosen in the realm of sustainable fashion is through online resale marketplaces such as Poshmark, Depop, Mercari, Thred Up, Real Real, and Fashionphile where fashion lovers can find gently used items for a good price. My favorite app/website that I personally use is Poshmark where I have a closet stocked with items that were either never used or were very gently used. Any item that does not fit the “never used/new” or “very gently used” category is either donated, recycled, or repurposed.
Fashion matters. It’s a $3B industry that matters to the economy. It tells the story of who we are culturally. It matters to us individually for the purpose of utility and self-expression. By buying resale or thrifting, we can make a dent in decreasing our carbon footprint and is arguably the more environmentally friendly choice.